Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Science fiction has not fared well on network TV in the last few years. The only current SF program on one of the four major networks is Fringe on FOX, which remarkably is about to begin its fourth season.

Most SF shows don't even seem to last a full season. Examples of network science fiction shows in the past few years that were pulled prematurely were: Firefly (FOX), Threshold (CBS), and Invasion (ABC). Other notable science fiction shows that were given at least two seasons, but still not supported by the networks were: Dollhouse (FOX), Dark Angel (FOX), and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox). Of these six programs, four of them were on FOX. I bring all this up, because the new and only science fiction show to come to TV this fall is Terra Nova, which is on FOX TV. So while I am looking forward to Terra Nova, I am curbing my enthusiasm somewhat because of the short runs of so many other SF shows on FOX in the past. It has been reported that FOX has already ordered 13 episodes of Terra Nova. I have also read that due to the extreme length of time to produce the special effects for the show, that would likely be all the episodes for season one.
Here is the press release (which is somewhat spoilerific) on Terra Nova:
From executive producers Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, René Echevarria and Brannon Braga comes an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making.
TERRA NOVA follows an ordinary family on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149, the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, with the majority of plant and animal life extinct. The future of mankind is in jeopardy, and its only hope for survival is in the distant past.
When scientists unexpectedly discovered a fracture in time that made it possible to construct a portal into primeval history, the bold notion was born to resettle humanity in the past – a second chance to rebuild civilization and get it right this time.
The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land. JIM SHANNON (Jason O’Mara), a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new world of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Jim’s wife, ELISABETH (Shelley Conn), is a trauma surgeon and the newest addition to Terra Nova’s medical team. JOSH (Landon Liboiron) is their 17-year-old son who is torn to leave life as he knows it behind; upon arriving at the settlement, he finds himself instantly drawn to the beautiful and rule-breaking SKYE (Allison Miller). MADDY (Naomi Scott), Josh’s endearingly awkward 15-year-old sister, hopes Terra Nova will give her a chance to reinvent herself. Although Elisabeth’s medical training secured the family a spot on the pilgrimage, a secret involving their five-year-old daughter, ZOE (Alana Mansour), soon endangers their place in this utopia.
Upon the Shannons’ arrival, they are introduced to COMMANDER NATHANIEL TAYLOR (Stephen Lang), the charismatic and heroic first pioneer and leader of the settlement. Taylor warns the travelers that while Terra Nova is a place of new opportunities and fresh beginnings, all is not as idyllic as it initially appears. Along with blue skies, towering waterfalls and lush vegetation, the surrounding terrain is teeming with danger – and not just of the man-eating dinosaur variety. There is also a splinter colony of renegades led by the battle-hardened MIRA (Christine Adams), who is vehemently opposed to Taylor and his leadership.
Even more threatening than what lies outside the protective walls of the colony is the chilling possibility that something sinister is happening inside Terra Nova. The Shannons will come to suspect that not everyone on this mission has the same idea of how to best save mankind; in fact, there may be forces intent on destroying this new world before it even begins.
TERRA NOVA is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Chernin Entertainment, DreamWorks Television and Kapital Entertainment. Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”), Peter Chernin, RenĂ© Echevarria (“Castle”), Brannon Braga (“24”), Jon Cassar (“24”), Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey (“Falling Skies”), Darryl Frank (“The Borgias”), Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”) and Kelly Marcel serve as executive producers. Alex Graves (FRINGE) directed and serves as executive producer of the series premiere.
FOX has obviously spent a lot of time and money on Terra Nova, so I hope it is as good as this trailer makes it look and that FOX will give it at least a few seasons to tell its story. Terra Nova premiers September 26 at 8pm. Enjoy the trailer!


  1. Land Of The Lost on steroids? I'm kidding, but seriously Doc, that series looks sick. It's the first I've seen of the trailer. Thanks for posting.

    It looks like an exciting, amazing series. I'm VERY Interested!

    I agree that FOX doesn't give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Firefly was amazing, but perhaps this one has had enough flashy advertising to get an audience out of the box and make it an event.

    My best,

  2. I thought Terra Nova would interest you, Sci-Fi Fanatic!

    Just getting Spielberg to attach his name ($$$) to the show indicates to me FOX’s commitment to Terra Nova. They also hired Brannon Braga, a writer-producer who's worked extensively on the Star Trek TV franchise to oversee the writer’s room. They brought in another sci-fi veteran, Rene Echevarria – who has written for ST:TNG, DT:DS9, The 4400 and produced ST:DS9 and Dark Angel – as the show runner.

    Honestly, the basic premise doesn’t excite me. I like the idea of a future Earth that is so overpopulated and polluted that humanity is looking to start over – but why not on another planet? Time travel is one of those sci-fi concepts that we accept, despite its physical improbability, because it makes for incredible story telling possibilities. Still, as a basic concept, Terra Nova could just as easily been put on another Earth-like planet with a similar biosphere to primeval Earth. The only reason for putting the show in Earth’s past is so that you can have dinosaurs in it instead of alien creatures; which for some reason non-science fiction fans find dinosaurs more acceptable than aliens.

    Still, as a genre and sci-fi fan, I will watch and support Terra Nova. Even a weak premise can be overcome by excellent scripts, great direction and stellar acting; all three of which Terra Nova shows the promise of having.

  3. What - Time travel a "physical improbability"? Has Zombzany been making you sniff the embalming fluid again!?! Coming out of character for a moment finding an inhabitable planet, let alone being able to get there, is practically as improbable as time travel. Well, Ok, so I do love a good time travel story. With all the talent they have brought in, I hope they can keep the show interesting using good action scenes balanced with equally good characterization.

  4. What up, Prof?! It has been a long time (and space) since you popped onto these posts! It’s wicked cool to know that you still have 9-K scanning this time-line. As you well know, Zombzany hasn’t been making me do anything, as he has been MIA for over two years now. It hasn’t been a lot of fun cleaning up his mess either. It’s taken me almost all this time to bury all the inanimate zombies that he left to their own devices in his graveyard. Frankly, I’m glad the necromaniac has split and left me in peace. Unfortunately, Bill E. Bones is now just a lifeless skeleton, despite my best efforts to reanimate him.

    You may be the master of time and space, Phineas, but to the rest of us living in the 21st Century, time travel is strictly science fiction. Yes, the likelihood of finding a human-hospitable planet orbiting a class G star within a reasonable distance in space (say 20 light years), is pretty slim. Still, I find this more believable as a fan of both science and science fiction, than I do the practical application of time travel theory. No disrespect intended, Prof.

    For purely selfish reasons, I love science fiction that involves spaceships and man’s exploration of space. That’s why I’m a self-admitted Star Trek freak. There are currently no space-based shows on TV, so it would have been more appealing to me if Terra Nova had gone the space-rout instead of the backwards-in-time rout. Yes, good plot with strong characters will make up for any of my perceived flaws in the show’s premise. Thanks for popping up, Triple-P!